The Center for Disease Control (CDC) just made an astounding case against antibiotics.
Their report serves mostly to confirm what many of us have either suspected or expected. Isolated chemicals sent into our bodies to fight dirty little microbes ultimately strengthen the microbes and weaken our defenses.
The alternative happy ending: alternative medicine.
The Threat Report
The “Threat Report 2013” (TR) details chilling discoveries warranting the CDC’s urgent alert. Each year more than 2 million Americans get sick with a “super bug,” a pathogen that has evolved to defend itself against our manmade drugs. More than 23,000 die yearly and that doesn’t include patients whose diseases such as diabetes II or cancer were complicated because of super bugs and no drugs to beat ‘em.
Antibiotic-resistance costs the USA upwards of $20 billion with an additional estimated $35 billion in lost productivity due to illness and hospitalization.
Here’s one factor that probably contributes to the expense: “Antibiotics are responsible for almost 1 out of 5 emergency department visits for adverse drug events.”
According to the experts, a staggering 50% of antibiotic prescriptions are not needed or are the wrong fit. That means that if you get two prescriptions this year, most likely one of them is off.
Now the FDA is tightening the lasso on ranchers. They recently issued new guidelines about the use of drugs in food animals. Livestock can receive treatment specific to illness but using drugs to enhance weight gain or “feeding efficiency” will no longer fly.
As the TR noted, “The use of antibiotics for promoting growth is not necessary, and the practice should be phased out.”
Amen and let it be.
How it Works
In short, antibiotics kill more than the unwanted bacteria. They also destroy healthy ones. Even if the drug is effective against most of the invaders, if it can’t take out the superbug then it’ll leave you depleted of your own natural defenses and vulnerable to the attacker.
The microorganism is basically playing good chess. Your antibiotic may take out his knight and a few pawns, but in the end he gets the checkmate because his superbugs outnumber your anti-bugs.
On the upside, this is a reminder that in the aftermath of harmful drugs or in the case of illness, our first resort may still be as simple as probiotics. Eat yogurt, drink kefir, include fermented veggies such as kim chi or “real” sauerkraut with your meals, and/or buy a quality supplement.
Scientists say that 60-70% of our immune system is in the gut, where friendly microbes beat disease-causing pathogens regularly. The more armed you are with healthy flora the healthier your GI tract, and the stronger your immunity.
You might hear more about Clostridium difficile (C. diff) in the coming days. The illness is deadly and its primary cause is antibiotics.
C. diff is characterized by continuous and uncontrollable diarrhea, inflamed intestines and bleeding ulcers.
“…almost 250,000 people each year require hospital care for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections. In most of these infections, the use of antibiotics was a major contributing factor leading to the illness. At least 14,000 people die each year in the United States from C. difficile infections. Many of these infections could have been prevented.” (CDC)
Another set of unexpected bandits are the modern antacids known as PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) including Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec. One researcher was shocked to discover that fully 76% of C. diff patients at the Stockton Hospital had this one treatment in common.
If you have acid reflux, consider a natural alternative.
The good news is that if you stay out of hospitals you’re less likely to catch an antibiotic resistant infection. Hospitals are the #1 breeding ground for these pathogens.
People who are at highest risk include those:
- receiving chemotherapy
- undergoing complex surgery
- suffering with an inflammatory arthritis (and taking pharmaceutical treatments)
- undergoing dialysis
- receiving organ and bone transplants
The primary factor in all these conditions is a weakened immune system, which the ineffective antibiotic becomes unable to assist:
- chemotherapy depresses immunity;
- surgery can lead to an SSI (surgical site infection) which complicates recovery;
- inflammation negatively affects disease resistance and arthritis drugs further dampen immunity;
- dialysis and transplants potentially expose patients to pathogens that may already be or become antibiotic resistant.
No doubt in these cases and with other serious illnesses antibiotics may be necessary. The awesome news is that there are powerful antibiotics found everywhere in nature.
Here’s just a snapshot of potent foods and herbs that you can easily find in your local health food store, and which many have used as natural alternatives to drugs.
- Delivers powerful antioxidants
- Known for thousands of years to kill bacteria
- Contains allicin, which researchers believe is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral
- Antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory
- Contains potent antioxidants
- Used to treat many illnesses including C. diff, staph, diabetes II, cold and flu, strep throat, helicobacter pylori (stomach ulcers), pneumonia, fibromyalgia and yeast infections
- Some research suggests anti-cancer qualities
- Anti-fungal, antibacterial
- Often applied topically to a wound to prevent or heal infection; some companies make a pre-treated manuka honey bandaid
- Other treatment uses include MRSA (staph) and helicobacter pylori (stomach ulcers)
- Reduces plaque!
- Active component called berberine, which prevents bacteria from adhering to the cell wall
- Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter tonic, laxative, anti-diabetic
- Aids digestion, used as an expectorant, to prevent and/or treat cold, flu, bladder infections, minor wounds, mouth sores, fever blisters and Candida
- Not to be used for longer than two weeks at a time
- Used to prevent and treat cold and flu
- Known as a treatment for a wide variety of illnesses from gas and constipation to pneumonia, malaria, cholera and prevention of heart disease
- Anti-inflammatory, antibiotic especially good for upper respiratory infections
As you can see, powerful natural remedies exist and when we implement them in our lives, superbugs will have nothin’ on us.